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Umalali

Biography

Umalali is not a band but rather a 10-year labor of love by Ivan Duran, the producer behind Andy Palacio's groundbreaking -- and tragically final -- album, 2007's Watina. In 1997, Duran began traveling through Garifuna communities in Central America and recording women singing in their homes and workplaces. Though men are traditionally considered the performers, Duran found that the women have been under-appreciated guardians of the Garifuna culture, composing new songs and keeping the old songs alive. After recording intermittently for five years, Duran invited several women to record in a seaside hut. After the sessions, he spent years working with the music, adding subtle backing instrumentals and tightening the compositions. Umalali was born with the album's release in 2008. The singers include 54-year-old mother of four Sofia Blanco and her daughter Sylvia, sacred singer Desere Arana and Honduras' Marcela "Chela" Torres. Honduran guitarist Eduardo "Guayo" Cedeno provides most of the lead guitar.
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